A great guitar player, a soulful singer, a brilliant songwriter! Guys, let’s welcome Stelios Ventas, who released a new solo album, “Badass”, a few months ago and gave us a hard rock masterpiece. Stelios spoke to Myth of Rock about many things, but first of all, about his new LP and his passion for dirty, old hard rock music. Meet Stelios, taste his songs and … let the music do the talking!
by Dimitris Zacharopoulos
Hello Stelios. You are a solo artist. Why have you decided to release solo albums instead of being the guitarist of a band?
I have played with many bands during the last 30 years, from pop to heavy metal; most of them were live cover bands which use to gig around Athens. I always wanted to write and perform my own music but I never had the support to make it true. So when I felt tired of playing covers I decided to do the next step eventhough I was alone. I already had many ideas so I took some lessons on recording and music technology and started to write. I was charmed by the progress of writing, composing, recording, mixing etc and soon it was a part of my life. After my first release some people started to believe in me and now I can say that I have quite a few supporters and fans!
You released your new album (“Badass”) some months ago. How do you feel about it? How do you see the album now? Would you change something to it, if you could?
I ‘m very proud of this album. It has 10 tracks and I really love them all. It has no fillers. The production is very cool, I would say it’s vintage-modern, really close to the original recordings with almost no editing and sounds loud and clear. The reviews are awesome until now, the feedback is perfect and some songs have worldwide radio airplay.
Could you introduce us to your discography? Where would you trace the differences between “Badass” and your previous record release? How much have you progressed?
In 2016 I released my debut “Rock ‘n’ Love”, with rough sound but killer musical ideas. In 2018 the 5 tracks EP “Faded Flower” came out, better sound but not yet what I wanted. After four years, I had the time and the expirience to create my most well rounded project, “Badass”. I think that with time I become better.
Give us all the necessary info about the recordings and the production of “Badass”.
Badass is written and produced in my home studio, in Athens. Some recordings have taken place in some other settings. Sotiris Pirounias plays the bass in all songs. Yiannis Goudoulas has written and sing the song “Love”. He also has the back vocals of “Promise Land” and “Confess”. My wife and my daughters participate in “Viva la Revolution”. I ‘ve made mixing and mastering too. The cover is made by Yiannis Papaioannou and the photo is taken by Peter Papapetrou. I tried to have good takes on recording and perform guitars and voices like I was playing live. Those were my little secrets for giving the songs some extra energy.
I like very much your guitar playing and your guitar sound. When did you start learning to play the guitar? Are you a self-taught guitarist?
Thank you man! I really appreciate it. I play the guitar for over 30 years. I ‘m self-taught but I have studied the style of many of my favorite guitarists over the years. I trying to keep it simple when I play; a few notes which mean a lot.
Which are your guitar influences and your favorite guitarists?
All the rock stars of ‘60s to ‘90 have an impact on me. My guitar influences and my favorite guitarists are many, David Gilmour, Rory Gallagher, Gary Moore, Joe Perry, Randy Roads, Michael Schenker, Vivian Campell, John Sykes, Slash, Hendrix to name a few.
You also sing your songs. Why did you choose to sing on your own and not to cooperate with another singer?
There is no particular reason! I just sing outloud the melodies and words that I have in my mind. I think my voice and my accent are a little bit different. There are a lot of copies of Dio, Dickinson and other classic voices but I wanted to bring something new and different.
You compose your songs (music and lyrics). Where do you draw inspiration from? How is a typical song of yours composed?
I collect the words , the melodies, the guitar riffs, the rhythms that I have in my head and combine them to become songs. There is no some specific order or process. I drew inspiration from life, pictures, thoughts, facts, dreams for the future.
Where do your lyrics refer to?
I usually refer to human relationships, dead ends, self-awareness, redemption or the everyday life.
Why did you name the album “Badass”?
Because I think that It’s badass to the bone! Haha... This album is dedicated to the hero of the everyday life, that through all the difficulties and obstacles come his way these days, is searching for his self, for love, for hope, for happiness. All this procedure makes him stronger.
“Badass” is a self-released album. Why didn’t you cooperate with a record label for the release of the album?
I released the album through tunecore and bandcamp. I don’t think that a record label is necessery nowdays. Besides, big labels don’t sign with up-rising artists.
Do you play live in concert? How important are concerts for you? Do you have any plans for some live dates?
How can a musician live without live? Of course I have plans for live performances. I want to communicate my music with the audience, to feel the feedback and the energy. My band is ready and we will be on stage soon!
How did the covid-19 pandemic affect you as a musician and as a person?
I was angry because I could not feel free but that period give me some extra time for music.
What do you think about the war against Ukraine?
I only know that for all political or economical games the bill goes to simple people that are just trying to survive. I ‘m against all wars, of course!
End your message to all the fans of rock music!
Keep on rocking and stay cool! Enjoy good things in life and good rock music! Thank you for the beautiful interview.
I don't know if you like horror books or horror movies, but I am pretty sure that you will absolutely love Hell Theater's horror metal! Hailing from Italy, Hell Theater released their sophomore album ("S’ Accabadora") in 2022, after a long hiatus of ten years, and are literally back from the dead. Myth of Rock, thrilled with the horror metal tunes of Hell Theater, came in contact with the members of the band and had a long discussion: the Italian shock metallers gave some brilliant answers and piqued our interest with many super-interesting details! Well, that was an inteview!
by Dimitris Zacharopoulos
When, where, by whom and under which circumstances was Hell Theater formed?
Unh: First of all we want to thank Myth of Rock for the opportunity to reveal some interesting things and “secrets…” about our new S’ACCABADORA album! The starting nucleus Hell Theater was formed in 2008 with Victor and Brian, then they find me as the drummer and Perenz as the bass player. A year after, the lineup was completed with Bob as guitarist, so we were able to start working on old and new material and record the first EP “Smell of Blood”. You can see that the current lineup of the band is the same of 14 years ago, with the exception of the bass player. The band’s name idea came discussing about the band’s project: “Hell” expresses the stylistic direction of the band, for image, lyrics and music writing, while “Theater” represents the vision of a horror show, but also in the music itself. We strongly wanted to make something new, to push our own idea of “horror metal”.
There is a long hiatus between your debut album, “Reincarnation of Evil”, and your second album, “S’ Accabadora”. Why is that?
Brian: Yes indeed, we might say that “S’ACCABADORA” is a cursed album… I cannot list all the countless misfortunes happened before its release; I will tell you just the major ones for your curiosity… In 2015 we had 90% of the material ready for S’ACCABADORA, unfortunately our previous record label MyGraveyard Productions closed its activity. It was a pity because they were really happy of us and we worked very well together. So, we entered a studio to record a pre-production version of the album, in order to be able to search for a new label with good material to show. We contacted all major labels, without receiving any reply, never. Perfect silence. We received some replies by smaller labels but either making us understand that our music wasn’t “aligned to their music tastes” or asking us too much money. You see? It doesn’t matter if Hell Theater pay all studio expenses, mixing, mastering and all the artwork too, giving they a complete ready-to-market product: they want additional money to print and distribute the album… “Their music taste…” sound strange that S’ACCABADORA, without a capillary distribution is anyway receiving very good ratings from everywhere in the world. Stressed by this situation we decided to carry on the project anyway, preparing us for the studio sessions and produce the S’ACCABADORA master, booking the studio sessions to start from January 2017… A couple of weeks before Victor suddenly decided to leave the band for personal reasons. We were all shocked… and forced to change our plans. We started to think about some malediction on our project… In the meantime, the band continued to work on additional material and perform live. A couple of years after, Victor solved his problems and he came back in the band. So, the original nucleus of Hell Theater was rebuilt. But… the return of Victor somehow caused the immediate exit of our bass player at the time. Yeah, “the curse, of course…!!” Whilst the rest of the lineup remained solid… we needed to change 4 bass players through time. We were really pissed off! The solution came from a friend of ours, Guh.Lu (current norwegian Gorgoroth’s bass player): he was ultra-happy to join the band as guest bass player, for recording sessions and big live performances. Our friend Alekht Xeper for the other gigs. Without a label, we entered in a studio anyways and recorded a couple of songs to evaluate the result. We weren’t satisfied, so we decided to search for another studio. We started again to look for a label and found a Mexican indie label that wanted to do to with us a really good job with great production ideas. Fuck the deaf majors. The album was planned to be in a precious Digipack A5 (book size) with a 24 pages booklet inside: in addition to all lyrics, we put the whole S’ACCABADORA story inside. We still have this artwork ready and paid by Hell Theater… in a drawer. So, in late 2019 we selected another recording studio, with a clause to have the complete quality control of it. So, we were ready to enter studio for the third time… But COVID pandemic stopped us again. Gaining a special nomination in our album. Not only, the pandemic also caused the closure of our rehearsal studio and we were unable to find a good replacement! It was really hard for us. It seemed that this album was really cursed! Our fans were constantly urging us not to give up. No way. WE are the devils that make the rules of our destiny… at least we try, until we have blood in our veins. Dodging all the problems among all pandemic limitations we were able to end all recordings and start mixing sessions in late 2020. In the meantime our Mexican label suddenly disappeared, we still don’t know now what happened to its owner! Another hit from our curse!! So we needed to find rapidly a label again or - plan B - self produce and distribute the album… risking that this opera will remain undiscovered by most people. We finally signed with WormHoleDeath records. They already knew us, and they were the only ones that deeply understood and appreciate our music and our approach indeed. But this comes with a cost… and we needed also to put time and money to review all the artwork in a simpler Jewel box and less material for the booklet. That’s it. Last November the album was finally released… but believe me: we weren’t sure to see it out until it was physically in our hands!
Where would you trace the differences between the debut album, “Reincarnation of Evil”, and the new album, “S’Accabadora”?
Victor: Both are concept albums, both written by Brian, Bob, Unh and me, both based on a story that I conceived. But while “Reincarnation of Evil” is a fictional story, S'Accabadora is more real and inspired by true stories and legends from my home land, the Sardinia Island. On a musical point of view, everyone expects it, the last album is a more mature work, its composition and arrangements took much more accuracy and work because of its complexity, we didn’t say “done” until we are all fully convinced of each song, “Dressed in Black” was completely rewritten from scratch just because we weren’t totally convinced of its first version. In this album there’s more research to create something new, trying new solutions on all points on view. There’s more research in the sounds, feeling, trying to enter the skin of our listeners and touch the inside, staying there for a long long time… Due to this particular setting I had introduced some parts in ancient Sardinian (it sounds very similar to Latin) and there’s a particular part of “Domus de Janas” where guitars are inspired by Sardinian choruses harmonic schemes, nearly unrecognizable, but Bob is sure they act at a subliminal level, maybe they resonate with the listener’s bones… In S’ACCABADORA we introduced some keyboards (mainly for the intro and outro) and synthesizers sounds, but you will be surprised to know that many sounds apparently keyboards are actually done with guitars. It's a big cooperative and inspired work by all members, adjusting music and lyrics in a continuous cycle until we get the perfect result.
Give us all the info about the recording, the mixing and the mastering of your new album.
Bob: Good question, there’s a lot to say about it! We are really tired of the latest "plasticky" productions, so perfect, flat, so unnatural, boring and nearly unlistenable. The band decided to go totally counter current, focusing to produce an album made to last, using all modern technologies yes, but with a natural aggressive sound. The watchword is "music played by musicians", realistic sound, humanity. Digital must serve the music and not the contrary. Obviously it’s not the easiest and cheapest way… First, everything recorded is performed by the respective band members, nothing is built on the computer. No easy copy-paste: even when parts are repeated later in the song, they were simply re-played and re-recorded by the musicians. We are sure that listeners will taste the human tiny differences in similar parts of the songs. We have *banned* all the easy automatisms to fix the rhythm base, align rhythm instruments and massively auto-tune notes. In the editing, the small deviations in the human execution have been deliberately left to convey naturalness and warmth of the playing. Instead of “flattening” the tempo base to make everything easier, it was patiently detected in all parts by comparing live performances at different months. We wanted to preserve the “feeling” of tiny tempo variations even when not consciously noticeable by the listener. Nearly nobody does that in modern records! Again: minimal use of plug-ins: the well-known "Melodyne" tuning for vocals has been used for probably 5 seconds in the entire album, who can say it in the all last 10 years records? We also didn’t use any “easy” guitar amp/rack simulation plug-ins: what you hear are real guitars played by Brian and Bob, with the same rig of their live performances, amplified by their MESA BOOGIE heads with 12 incandescent hot tubes, their MESA BOOGIE cabinets and captured by an array of excellent microphones. People say our live performances are very similar to our CD… In the mix, the position of the musicians was almost always maintained, Brian on the right and Bob on the left to convey the feeling of having the band in front of you. Also, on the mastering point of view we went totally counter-current: all metal records today are highly compressed towards to the CD limit to give the maximum volume, which penalizes al lot the dynamics. We refuse to do it, S’ACCABADORA will return the right dynamics, violence and feeling. It’s something nearly lost in modern rock and metal records. Our research for a “Hell Theater” sound involves also particular innovative executive and instrumental techniques that we introduced to produce sounds that will perhaps be heard for the first time. You may be surprised to know that some sounds that seem keyboards are actually guitars…
Who wrote the music and lyrics of the songs of the new album?
Unh: We cooperate a lot together and compose mainly during our rehearsal sessions. Every one of us obviously compose mainly the parts of its own “instrument” (e.g., Brian and Bob the guitar parts, Victor lyrics and their melodies, Unh drums) but we give each other ideas also for the other “instruments”. So, it may happen that Brian suggests me a rhythm pattern saying “try something like tantatata tan ta tata tata tan ta”, or I suggest Bob a guitar riff singing “deundendeundelendeung” and the same for melodies and lyrics, everyone give each other comments and ideas, and then together we check and sign the final result. It's a unbeatable alchemy of all members, not only on the musical area, each one gives a special contribute for the band to be as it is, catalyzing the results, something like 1+1 = 3. On the inspiration point of view we always keep in mind the story and the part of the story we are going to put in music, but the initial spark may come from a guitar riff by Brian or Bob, from vocal melody line from Victor, from a rhythm pattern or from a moment of an improvisation together. All four assholes making music together. There’s no leader, everyone works hard for the best result. You can note that the bass player isn’t involved in the creative process, it was in the past, but currently we have two bass players as guest live performers: Alekht Xeper and current Gorgoroth’s bass player Guh.Lu that recorded all the bass tracks of S’Accabadora. We were without bass player and now we have two!
Victor: Hell Theater are the cradle of my inspiration: I couldn't do without them and I wouldn't have the same "evil" force. The black magic that rules my hand is the same magic that unites every one of us in writing music.
Which are your main music influences? What does inspire you to compose music?
Brian: We all grew hearing all big metal bands of the 80’ and 90’ but we like also the special creativity of bands of the 70’ when musicians weren’t afraid to dare and experiment new things. This is the mood we try to have. But we are open minded, some of us hear a lot of classical music, experimental electronic music, progressive rock and other completely different musical genres. E.g. talking about Greece, Bob estimates a lot Vangelis (RIP), not exactly a metal head banger! This allows us to be open minded also on the composition and arrangement of our songs. We recently avoid to say “who influenced us” because it continuously happens that we are incorrectly compared with other bands, in good faith, we know, in the attempt to describe our music somehow, in a simple and practical way. We are also honored being compared with such great bands of the past and the present. But in reality we don’t need to be similar to anyone (even though our past look could be somehow deceiving, we know…), and, even if very difficult, we try more and more to find our own place in the metal scenario, with the help of our fans. The inspiration to compose music comes from a fire inside all of us and the stories we tell, a reaction from reality and the urge to throw that fire from the stage to the audience, with the music, lyrics, attitude and stage layout. We love to perform live and we want to give the audience all our energy and the best show possible, in the small current budget limitations we have. When we finish a new song, we can't wait to play it live and see their eyes stare and bodies shake when they hear it. It’s a spark that come from inside when Hell Theater are rehearsing together and it continue in the live show, we are happy to see our fans capturing those feelings and being cursed with us.
You say that you play “horror metal”. Can you describe this kind of metal?
Bob: As mentioned, our stories and our mood are clearly horror, the stylistic direction of the band is towards a theatrical representation of horror stories, at the same time we keep away from the easy use of religious symbols or other similar “poor means”, we find them really boring and childish. It's more difficult, but we want to move minds using higher level levers. Our “horror music” could be described as a mix of thrash metal, progressive metal, classical metal, but sometimes we’re sure you will find yourself thinking “what the fucking hell is this ??”. We are open minded and we use any musical mean for our final target. We continuously experiment musical and sounds solutions to push ahead the sound of Hell Theater and the concept itself of “horror metal”. We don’t need to find the easiest way but best one. In a part of “Domus De Janas” we wanted a special sound and it took an entire week to engineer it. You’ll be amazed to know how many crazy tricks we used together to get it. That’s our creativity approach: drums, bass, guitars, voice… when we have something in the head we try and try until we get it from the loudspeakers. I have personally been working and experimenting on a new guitar for a year with special pickups, new mechanical and electronic solutions in it, to create even new sounds. There’s literally my blood on it… I was hurt drilling its titanium bridge!
Your new album is a concept one. Where does this concept refer to? Give us the whole story!
Victor: I have already written the whole detailed story… unfortunately it wasn’t possible to put it a Jewel Case CD, maybe will be included in some future limited release of the album, if we will get the funds for it… In brief, the story is based on a traditional Sardinian figure, the "female ACCABADORA" or "she who ends", who really existed in the past and I’m pretty sure still exists in some very rural areas. S’Accabadora were attributed to magical gifts, some sort of old witch dressed in black. Her real role was to put an end to the suffering of dying and terminally ill old people, out of pity, at the request of relatives, by striking a blow on the back of the head with a special "Mazzolu" hammer. You can see this hammer on the rear cover of our album. Sometimes, however, the relatives for personal interests tricked the Accabadora and then she unleashed her curses to all of them, mercilessly, even if they killed her. I'll give you a spoiler: everyone will die! This is the first time that a similar story has been told in entire metal album and we are very proud of it, and we have created the perfect music for it.
Do you watch horror movies? Which are your favorite horror movies? Do you read horror literature? Which are your favorite horror books?
Victor: Yes, all of us watch horror movies, but probably I’m the more immersed in the horror movie production. I have a collection of about 300 horror movies, all original and regularly purchased obviously (like my 2000 CDs), to support the artists’ work. My preferred myths of literature are Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe. My preferred movies are really a lot, from classic “Halloween”, “The Exorcist”, “The Home” to James Wan works, “Saw”, “The Conjouring” and “Insidious” series. This reminds me the “S’Accabadora” mixing and mastering sessions… we called Bob “Insidious” because he always stayed behind the sound engineer like a hellish devil… while he was working the rest of the band were silently ROFLOAO ! (Roll On the Floor Laughing Our Ass Off).
Bob: Yeah… I’m the terror of sound engineers, hahaha !! BTW I love Edgar Allan Poe too, this explains the nickname “raven”. I like the more science fiction horror movies, starting from the classical “Alien” and the masterpiece “The Thing”. On the contrary I’m really bored of all recent Zombies movies/series.
How much important is atmosphere for you? Which atmosphere do you try to create with your music?
Unh: It’s very important, and directly connected with the theatrical dimension of our show and the style of our music. We want to move the guts or our listeners, squeeze their souls, shake their bones from inside and it’s fundamental to create the right atmosphere for it. You can hear in our music, we pass from the extreme violence of a murder to suddenly a dreadful calm in a cold fog with strange creatures around… For us it’s easier on the musical point of view, harder for the show… you know, our ideas for the stage are incredibly much greater than our budget… so we hope we will find some co-operation to grow and realize them all in the future!
If a director asked you to compose the soundtrack of a horror movie, which would be your answer and why?
Bob: It’s a total and absolute YES. We simply want to do it, sooner or later !! If a horror movie director is reading this interview: contact us. E.g., we were in contact with Dario Argento, and Asia has our first album, unfortunately at the moment he’s not making new movies.
Do you play live in concert? Which are your tour plans?
Brian: We are performing some gigs, not as much as we want and not in big enough venues, as it was in the past. Pandemic has created a lot of additional problems and uncertainty for show organizers and our music isn’t exactly something for the masses… In addition, Italy isn’t a good place to play our music, we are more appreciated in northern Europe, Asia, USA, we will be happy to perform in the beautiful Greece! Russia also looks to be promising, I mean… when we released “Reincarnation of Evil” from two Russian websites they counted over 30.000 (illegal) album downloads in the first two weeks… we didn’t get even a single cent for them, but we want at least 30.000 people to see us if we will make a concert there! Anyway we aim to perform soon in some medium/big venue to promote our new album.
Send your message to the fans!
HELL THEATER: We love you! You are incredible, we have seen some of you driving for 500-600Km just to see our show, that’s amazing! Wow! And if you can’t see us live, we have a great respect for those who spend few euros to purchase some original music by Hell Theater: this allow us to make new records faster and survive. We are already composing another album… a new extraordinary concept, the story is written and half songs too, but don’t ask: it’s an absolute secret. But there will be another surprise that we can’t reveal until its release. We promise you will be totally shocked of what we are preparing. So, continue to spread the word: we simply cannot exist and make records without your support and your force!
Screamer are releasing a new album soon, titled “Kingmaker”, an album, which stands as a fantastic heavy metal release. The Swedes deserve to be proud and optimistic for the future, for sure. Myth of Rock contacted Dejan Rosić (guitar) for an interview and Dejan informed us about everything new and fresh in Screamer’s camp. Scream for Screamer, please!
by Raquel Miranda
Could you introduce yourselves and the band’s history?
Hi, I’m Dejan the guitar player in Screamer. The band started in 2009 and since then we have released four albums (“Adrenaline Distractions” 2011, “Phoenix” 2013, “Hell Machine” 2017 and “Highway of Heroes” 2019) we have always been a hard touring band and we are now gearing up for our fifth release “Kingmaker” that is set to be released 13th January 2023 and a world tour will follow.
Congrats on signing with Steamhammer/SPV, a label that has worked with legendary bands, such as Running Wild, Rage and Sodom. How did the deal happen? Can you give us any details about it?
Thank you, we actually didn’t contact any labels until the album was finished mixed and mastered. After that we reached out to a couple of labels and Steamhammer was the one we felt most confident signing with and felt that they had a good plan in taking the band forward.
“Kingmaker” will set to be released next year, most precisely on the 13th of January, 2023. Ten tracks of pure heavy metal, with a bite of 80’s power. Perfection! What were you main inspirations for this one?
Of course we are always inspired by the old heroes of heavy metal and that will never change. A lot of our inspirations came from working with a producer on our previous album Highway of Heroes and we learned a lot what our strengths as a band is. We did pre production with Jakob Herrmann for a couple of songs on “Kingmaker” and that gave us even more tools and inspiration for writing and recording.
Which are the music trademarks of Screamer in your opinion?
Sing along choruses and melodies I would say. We really worked hard on that on “Highway of Heroes” and we carry that on for “Kingmaker” in an even bigger way!
Like the previous ones, we can hear a diversity in the songwriting. Is “Kingmaker” the continuation of the previous records?
Yes and no I would say, haha. Our influences are rooted in heavy metal but we all grew listening to a bunch of different music. But we always try to write music that we like and even if there is diversity in Kingmaker I see it as a good thing even though I think the songs have a common thread through out the album.
When and where was this record recorded? Describe the whole recording and production process (mixing, mastering, etc.).
We started with drum recordings in the fall of 2021 at Top Floor studios in Gothenburg with Jakob Herrmann who did an amazing job with capturing and coaching Henrik throughout the recording. Then we continued to record guitars and bass at our own studios where I engineered/produced the recordings. Vocals where recorded with Christian Svedin in Kinna. The record was mixed and mastered by Henrik Udd in Gothenburg and he really gave the album the finishing touch it needed and made it big!
How is a typical Screamer song composed?
Usually it starts with a riff or a melody and then we make a ruff version of a song and send it to our singer Andreas and he puts vocals on it and then after that we build a songs and try fit all the pieces together.
Could you tell us the story behind the meaning of title of the album (“Kingmaker”) please? Where do the lyrics of the new album refer to?
It comes from the title track, it was one of the songs that finished early and we felt that we liked the title Kingmaker so we went for it. Even though the album is not a concept album but if you get very nerdy you could easily tie the songs together.
You have released a live album (“Live Sacrifice”). Give all the info about this special release.
We recorded a bunch of the concerts we did during the Highway of Heroes tour that was unfortunately cut short due to Covid. And we felt when covid hit we wanted to give our fans something special since we couldn’t tour. Fun fact the album was released on my and Henrik’s own label Steel Dragon Records.
If you could cooperate with a famous musician, who would he/she be and why?
Tough question, we are big fans of Seven Sisters from London so we were fortunate that Kyle McNeil who’s the singer and guitar player could help us laying down some awesome synths on the song the Traveler. So I would say him and in my book he’s famous!
How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect you?
I think we had the same troubles as every band. But we used Covid to really figure out what to do and worked hard so we were ready when the world opened up again.
You guys are considered the newest sensation of NWOTHM, alongside Eternal Campion, Night Demon and so on. How does it feel for you?
It feels good, there are so many good and talented bands playing good music so being mentioned along them is always an honour.
In 2023, you will be on tour with Hellfire, in America. Congrats on that. You have also tour dates on Europe. How does it feel to tour with them? Could you give us more details about the tour in USA? Will you have more dates in Europe?
We did the tour this year (2022) with Hellfire and it was a blast, we love those guys. The tour was great and we can’t wait to get back to the US. But you know what happens on the road stays on the road, haha. We have an upcoming EU tour next year (2023) to support “Kingmaker” so the EU will be covered that’s for sure!
Could you give some words for the fans, please?
Big cheers to everyone, hope to see you all on the road and hope you like our upcoming album Kingmaker that is set to be released January 13th 2023 on Steamhammer! Cheers.
Indie rock, alternative rock … labels to define music … A Shoreline Dream, the name of a indie, alternative rock band … which with the its most recent album, “Loveblind”, is here again to haunt our mind and heart. The band’s distorted, melancholic sound shakes up the waters of indie, alternative rock music and Myth of Rock, thrilled and excited, came in contact with Ryan Policky (vocals, guitars), who gave us his polite, interesting answers!
by Dimitris Zacharopoulos
Give us a short biography of A Shoreline Dream please. Why did you name the band “A Shoreline Dream”? Being at the near center of the US ourselves, and watching the madness of humanity striving to spend as much money as they can to live right on one of the most volatile parts of the planet inspired the name. The shore is one of the most beautiful places to visit, yet in our mind it’s almost the same as a dream, since we rarely experience it. The sounds, visuals and overall mood of our music has always had a similar feeling. Endless, while bordering on explosive.
“Loveblind” is your sixth album. How do you feel now that you are releasing this new album? To see it come to light was a huge relief considering how difficult life itself has become. Music itself is my therapy. What I sometimes feel as my meaning in life, and to be able to piece all the puzzling parts of who I am into a replayable audio source releases so much of the tension built up inside. “Loveblind” was one of the most introspective bodies of work I’ve mixed myself into over the years, and I can finally breathe again knowing it somehow worked itself into cohesion.
Where would you trace the differences between “Loveblind” and the previous albums? Have you evolved as a band? A Shoreline Dream has been on an evolution from song to song, album to album. We started as a floaty mix of shoegaze and goth, and have gone everywhere from pure electronic, working with masterminds of the craft, aka Ulrich Schnauss, and have also seen ourselves dive into gritty prog rock. I think it all comes together as a whole, even through all these evolutions based on the depth of the instrumentation and the layers of vocals. We may have sounds we are still experimenting with, and ideas that come out on the fly, but it all has this vibe that could only be A Shoreline Dream.
Describe the recording and the production process of “Loveblind”. Who did the mixing and the mastering? The process was a 6 month exploration of sound at my (Ryan Policky) home studio. We tend to start by simply coming together and recording what we are currently feeling and the rhythms that reside within. These ideas are fleshed out over time. I have always taken those “jam” recordings and fine tuned them until they hit the sound imagined that represents our current overall mood. So the songs have rarely ever have left the place they are created in. A few occasions we’ve worked with some outside sources, such as Ulrich, Mark Kramer & a few others, but I generally handle all mixing and mastering, as was the case on “Loveblind”.
Which are the ones who write the music and the lyrics? What does inspire you to compose and create? The music itself is a combo between myself and Erik Jeffries. The music writing is all in the jam space, or on the fly in a recording session. I like to keep it loose and allow it to come naturally rather than spending weeks rehearsing and creating a somewhat robotic approach. Lyrically I have been at the helm. All based on my experiences and the current state of the overall vibe. Story is of course an important element, and I for sure have quite a few of those to tell. It has been quite a strange voyage, and don’t mind sharing those experiences.
How would you define the music of A Shoreline Dream? How do you feel with the label “indie rock”? I would say we are composing in a progressive, dark wall of sound style. I know we have been in the realm of Shoegaze, which I am a fan of without a doubt, but I think we have a little more to sprinkle into that formula. To me “Indie rock” defines whether a band is truly doing music business without the support of major labels, so I don’t really define that as a style of music, as much as it has become one. To be honest I don’t even know one single band I would ever define as “indie”, even though we would technically be that since I put my home up to start our label as a business, and handled management through our history.
I feel that the main characteristics of A Shoreline Dream are: the distorted, fuzzy sound and melancholy. Do you agree with me? On “Loveblind”, which is a primarily electronic record I would agree. It’s very much in the realm of goth rock and the music was built around that fuzz and the bass lines, which leads the listener down the path. But as a whole I would say A Shoreline Dream has the characteristics of prog. Each album has it’s own key characteristics that lead it toward the overall vibe.
How do you sound live in concert? Is it easy or difficult to reproduce your studio sound live on stage? We have traditionally been a very loud experience, with tons of energy and lots of explosions. It’s never been difficult to reproduce live, and I think that helped us in some of our most important years of establishment. We have toured so many times and have done many radio appearances, and I always felt we were able to make those match our produced sound.
Do you have any plans for a tour? No plans…. Yet! We need a dedicated percussionist and would need to get back in the groove after all the downtime of the pandemic. I have been asked many times, but alas it will most likely be another year before we could pull it off again.
How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect you? The pandemic just put me in this mode of producing. Trying not to waste time thinking about what could be going on, and just doing something. I have A Shoreline Dream, plus another project named “Alien Gothic” I have been delving in over these weird years.
If you could cooperate with a famous musician, who would he/she be? Interesting question, and I actually have done it already. Ulrich Schnauss was one of my faves before we met him, and we wound up working on many tracks together as A Shoreline Dream. So in that aspect the dream kinda came true!
If your music was a colour, which colour would it be? Black & Blue, just like my soul.
Your future plans? We are working on new material as we speak. Hoping to have another album ready this next year, and I also plan to try my hardest to getting one of these albums on vinyl, without going broke doing it. Right now we have 2 of our albums up on diggersfactory.com as crowd funded releases, so I have been pushing for those to actually get fully funded! We of course could use the help!
Your message to your fans? Without the support we would be nothing. We hope you continue listening and we are doing the best we can to try and get ourselves back out there to see you live once again! Many thanks for your time putting this together!
If there is one last big hope for european power metal, then its name is Induction! Induction is led by Tim Hansen (guitars), Kai Hansen’s son, and a few months ago the band released a much praised sophomore record, a real power metal masterpiece, named “Born From Fire”. A few days before New Year's Day, Myth of Rock, enchanted by the power metal beauty of Induction, came in contact with Tim Hansen and Dominik Gusch (bass) and had a very interesting chat. Dimitris Zacharopoulos made the questions, Tim and Dominik gave the answers, and you can enjoy what was discussed!
Hello Tim and Dominik! Give us a short biography of Induction until now, please.
Tim: Hello Dimitris. Induction was created in 2014 and can be best described as progressive power metal with symphonic influences, creating an epic and heroic atmosphere with catchy and soaring vocals, melodic solos, thunderous drums as well as the massive orchestration created by Peter Crowley. We had a great success already, after releasing our debut album “Induction" in October 2019. Now we have the new album out, which has been mastered by Jacob Hansen. It’s cool to see, that even though we have an almost completely new line-up, it’s still unmistakably Induction, and even better.
Present to us the current line-up of Induction. Do you think that this line-up is the best one that you’ve ever had? Why?
Tim: Absolutely! I believe that the pandemic, in a way, really helped me with taking the time for it. I could not only focus on finding amazing players and musicians, but also people that have the same vision and goals. I think now, we are all sharing a common goal and we all know where to go. That’s very valuable. Marcos Rodriguez, who was previously with Rage, has lots of experience and always some helpful thoughts. He’s also a great songwriter, so we’re looking forward to including him more in the future. Dominik Gusch, our bass player, is not only super talented, but also helps me out a lot with the organization. And then of course, there’s Craig, who I believe is among the best power metal singers of the generation. I’m glad he’s on board with us and he definitely is the perfect fit.
You are now releasing your new, sophomore album. Which are your feelings?
Tim: I’m very excited! The release has been promising before, but now, with it being out, I really can see how much of a difference it is compared to the first record. The media and fans have been overwhelming with positive comments. We’ve been ranked very highly by many magazines and some even call “Born From Fire” the album of the year. That’s very humbling, and I’m happy that so many love this record.
Where would you trace the differences between your debut album and “Born From Fire”?
Tim: First and foremost, I wanted to write an album that is FUN to listen to. Music is about feeling it and if it’s not fun to listen to, or doesn’t touch you, what’s the point? Compared to the debut, “Born From Fire” feels a lot more mature. We focused much more on the vocals finding their place and keeping all the instruments where they SHOULD be. Previously, everything was a little bit over the place, which was also cool, but I think now the music just feels a lot more cohesive and gives you that larger than life feeling. We kept a lot of the old elements, but just did everything better, somehow.
In my opinion, your style is melodic power metal with symphonic and progressive elements. Do you agree with me and why?
Tim: Yes! Melodic is key. I want that people come out of the concert singing our chorus for days. I always love when I totally dive into a song, and that usually, most of the time happens when there’s an absolutely awesome chorus or some super catchy parts. Then the symphonic and progressive elements are the cherry on top, making our music more interesting and dynamic.
Which are the music trademarks of Induction, in your opinion? Why?
Dom: The orchestration arranged by Tim and Peter Crowley is in my opinion the unique selling point of Induction, because it is mighty, monumental and catchy. The other big musical trademark, I think, is that we bring a new wave of fresh riffs and catchy melodies to the power metal genre!
How much easy or difficult is it to be original in the power/prog metal scene in the year 2022?
Tim: I’m not sure.. I think there is a lot of great music and great artists out there. And I also think you don’t have to be very original to make it. What matters is that you stand behind what you do and that you do it not only good, but excellent! Of course being unique always helps, but I think this is easily achieved by just doing what you love! After all, everyone is different.
I like the cover of the new album very much. Give us all the details!
Dom: We wanted to trace the idea with the pharaoh as our mascot, which we included in every artwork since the first single “The Outwitted Consecration”. And since it’s the first album of our new lineup, born out of the pandemic fire, the pharaoh and the artwork had to represent the same.
Tim: Let me add to that. Peter Sallai created the artwork just based on the title! This one was pretty hands-off on my part, and I’m very very happy with how it turned out. And as Dom mentioned, the artwork and album title is a bit of a metaphor for how art and creativity can flourish during hard times. The pandemic put a big dent into the music business, but yet, we had so many amazing music releases due to that.
I read that there is a little tribute to the late Alexi Laiho in the new album. Can you give us some info about that?
Tim: Yes, the song in question is “Embers”, for which we also produced a music video. After hearing of Alexis passing, I was pretty shocked! I rarely consider myself a fan of something, but Alexi was probably the first guitarist where his passing really hit me! So I decided to write Embers, as a tribute to this hero of mine. Embers reflect Alexis influence in me, both in my guitar playing and songwriting and it’s about great heroes and people falling victim to the hands of time. I’m happy with how it turned out and hope I can honour him with it!
Which are your musical influences? Who were your childhood’s music heroes? What music do you listen to today?
Tim: Well, as just mentioned, obviously Alexi Laiho hahaha! I never had many music heroes though. I always loved listening to all kinds of music, beyond metal as well. I still remember how I used to watch MTV all days, writing down all the songs that I liked in a little book. I have always been someone that likes to discover new things and I always appreciated different genres. But for metal, one of the first bands I discovered and learned to love was Judas Priest! Very classical, but very cool. Then I also drifted into the harder metal section until I came full circle back to power metal.
Dom: That’s a funny, because I’m the only guy in the band whose musical background doesn’t come from metal. I grew up listening to 50 Cent, all those 90s and 2000s R’n’B classics and Latin music actually, because my parents used to go dancing Salsa and stuff. But when I was 14, I was finally introduced to Linkin Park and Green Day and after some years I got attached by Djent and Metal Core and when I joined Induction, I got to all these amazing power and heavy metal artists. THANK GOD!
Where do your lyrics refer to? Which feelings of yours do you try to express through your music and lyrics?
Tim: I write about lots of things! Sometimes I don’t even have a particular topic and just put some words with the melody I imagine. Then the lyrical theme just kind of starts forming. I think the way the words sound is often much more important than what they mean, or if it’s lyrically correct. Of course there has to be a cohesive topic, but I believe it gets across better when it’s phonetically nice to listen to. At the moment, I really like writing about love though! It’s cool to think about some interesting none-cheesy ways to do it. That’s actually also what our singer Craig did, with “Ghost Of Silence”, which is about a man falling in love with a ghost.
Do you try to send messages through your music and lyrics? Why?
Tim: Yes, of course. Everyone has something to say and so do I. Some songs are dedicated to certain people. Others just follow a topic that I like. In the end, I think people should listen for themselves and see what valuable lessons or ideals they can get and where they can relate.
Why did you select “Queen of Light” as the first single off the new album? Which are your favorite tracks from the new album? Why?
Dom: We selected “Queen of Light” because it was the best song to present the new musical direction Induction aims for. It’s much more focused on the vocal melodies and their catchiness. For me, my favorite songs are “The Beauty of Monstrance”, because of its progressive and metal core-ish elements. It’s where I come from genre wise, actually. The other tracks I favorize over the rest of the songs are “Scorched” and “Ghost of Silence” because of their instrumentation and the lyrical content.
How do you decide things in the band? Do you work as a democratic team or is it only one person, who takes decisions?
Dom: We definitely take decisions in a democratic way and if there are some disagreements, we always try to decide on what’s the best for Induction and if we can agree on compromises.
You have signed a deal with Atomic Fire Records. How did this record deal come up? Describe your cooperation with Atomic Fire until now, please.
Tim: I originally aimed for us to be with Nuclear Blast. When I got in touch, I found out about the plans of the new label, Atomic Fire. This seemed pretty perfect to me. We’re a growing band and being part of a new label with some of the most professional infrastructure in the market, is very good I thought. So after some dealing and back and forth we found a deal that everyone is happy with. They have done outstanding work so far, I’m happy to be with them.
How did the COVID-19 pandemic and its restrictions affect you as individuals and as a band?
Tim: It was as I mentioned before, a great opportunity to take the time to find the right line-up. Also creatively, it was very inspiring. In a way, for Induction the pandemic came at the exact right time.
Dom: I know this sounds hard, but for me it was actually one of the best things that happened, because otherwise I wouldn’t have joined Induction nor would I’ve seen they’re looking for new members.
You went on tour with Serious Black. How did this tour come up? Which were your feelings for this tour? How do Induction sound in live concerts?
Tim: Right, just with the release of the album, we joined them on a European tour to promote it. It was very fun. Mario, the bass player of Serious Black hit me up at the start of the year and asked that they’d like us to join them as a special guest. The timing was perfect, since the tour start was just with the album release. Now after the tour is over again, from what I’ve overwhelmingly heard: the people were blown away by us. They love our energy on stage. We just have fun and somehow it seems, we’re able to really catch all the people and have them party with us.
What other future plans do you have? Send your message to the fans!
Dom: We have loads of cool plans in stock for our fans and future fans. There’s some more music coming up next year and we’re planning to play more live shows next year!
Tim: We will also try to visit lots of festivals in 2023. Thanks to all the fans that listened to and purchased the album! Your support goes a long way. Most importantly, share the news about "Born From Fire" with your friends!